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Office chairs go through a lot - they are a staple piece of office furniture that people sit on for around 8 hours a day, after all. With many people working, eating and drinking in their seats, accidents are bound to happen. Common areas that are affected are the cushions with drink stains, wheels and bases from dirty shoes, and armrests from messy fingers.

We clean our clothes, our bedsheets, and our car upholstery, so why not our office chairs? The good news is that it’s simple to clean your fabric chair with tools and supplies you likely already have to hand, or that your office can provide. There are a few things to check first, and then you will be all set to clean.

Before starting, check if the manufacturer of your chair has a cleaning guide online or on the information that came with the chair. Follow that if you can, but if no information is available then follow our simple guide.

Upholstery Chair Cleaning Codes

First, it’s important to check the material code of your chair. This should be on the tag and will be either W, S, or in rarer cases S/W or X. These stand for the following:

  • W - Water-based cleaning products. This is ideal as it’s durable and can be cleaned with standard upholstery cleaning products.

  • S - Cleaning solvents. This material is a lot harder to clean as it is dry clean only (no water). Any spills should be wiped up immediately and, if you used water-based products, blow-dried to lessen the chance of a stain. 

  • S/W - A mix of water-based products and solvents. This is uncommon, and tricky to clean. It’s best to use cleaning solvents or leave cleaning to professionals.

  • X - Vacuum only. A very uncommon material code, this one is for fabrics that cannot be cleaned but vacuumed only. 

Check the code on the tag of your chair and gather the right cleaning supplies for the material.

Cleaning Tools

To clean your chair, you’ll need a few tools. 

  • A vacuum with a small nozzle attachment

  • A duster or can of compressed air

  • Microfibre cloths or an old T-shirt

  • A spray bottle or bowl of warm water (for W-coded fabrics)

  • Clear washing-up liquid (for W-coded fabrics)

  • Cleaning solvent (for S and S/W-coded fabrics)

Gather these supplies then put your chair in an open area where you can comfortably clean it. For chairs with S or S/W codes, ensure the space is well-ventilated.

Steps to Clean a Fabric Office Chair

  1. Vacuum the chair

Get rid of any dust and debris from the cushions, backrest, and around the various parts of your chair. Use the vacuum for ease, but to get to those hard-to-reach places, you can use a duster, dust cloth or can of compressed air.

  1. Clean the fabric

In either your bowl or spray bottle of warm water, add a few drops of washing-up liquid and give it a stir or gentle shake until it’s incorporated. Spray the mixture lightly over the fabric or use one of the cloths to gently wipe it on. Next, take another cloth soaked in clean warm water and dab away the soapy water

For dry clean-only fabrics, use a little bit of an alcohol-based cleaning solvent to dab at the stained areas only. Before doing so, make sure to test a tiny hidden area of the chair to check it doesn’t cause any damage to the fabric.

Remember, do not rub the stains in, as you may push them further into the material. 

  1. Clean the rest of the chair

Use soapy water and a cloth to wash any parts of the chair that aren’t made of or covered in fabric, such as the wheels, bars, and adjustment levers.

  1. Dry the chair

If you’ve used water-based cleaning solutions, leave the chair to air dry until it is completely dry to the touch. If you’ve used cleaning solvents, use a hair dryer to dry it off, or place it in a well-heated room. Make sure the chair is not too close to a heater. 

  1. Re-vacuum the chair

Once everything is dry, give it another vacuum to pick up any dust that might have gotten caught during cleaning or drying. Have a look at every element of the chair and make sure you’ve not missed anything.

Follow these steps and your chair should have a new lease of life, ready to support you throughout the day. If you’re unsure about cleaning your chair yourself, professionals can get the job done quickly and efficiently, leaving your chair looking like new again.

Need a New Chair?

Unfortunately, some well-used chairs are beyond saving. When the time comes to change your office chair, usually 7-8 years if you’ve taken care of it, we can help. At Office Furniture Scene, we have a wide range of office chairs in a variety of designs and functions, where you’re sure to find your next perfect match in an office chair. If you need help choosing the right chair for you, give us a call on 01603 722483 - our friendly and professional team members will be happy to help.

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